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Samsung Galaxy Z Flip hands-on review: this is more like it!

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip hands-on review: this is more like it!

After the Galaxy Fold, Samsung is launching a second folding smartphone on the market with the Galaxy Z Flip. It appeals more to a broader user base than the first one. In our first hands-on review, you will learn what the Z Flip feels like and what special features it has.

 

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip release date and price

Unlike the Galaxy S20 models, you don't have to wait too long for the Galaxy Z Flip. Advance sales started right after the Unpacked event and just a couple of days later, on 14 February 2020, Samsung will start selling the Galaxy Z Flip in stores. In the US, you can have it on Sprint or AT&T

Galaxy Z Flip 0001
Boring black or iridescent purple? Which Galaxy Z Flip would you reach for? / © Samsung

If you want to buy the Galaxy Z Flip without a contract, you have to put $1,380 on the table. On the other hand, Samsung makes it easy to choose, as there is only one memory variant and two colors, Mirror Black and Mirror Purple.

  • Pre-order the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip here: AT&T or Sprint

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip design and build quality

Samsung sees the Galaxy Z Flip as a fashion icon and for this reason, has dispensed with a larger outer display. Instead, a small 1.04-inch display located next to the dual camera must be sufficient for displaying important information. In my opinion, the Mirror Purple, in particular, can certainly find its place in the fashion sector. The Mirror Black is probably not for fashionistas, because in this color the Galaxy Z Flip is less noticeable, if not even a little boring.

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The hinge is a further development of the Galaxy Fold. / © AndroidPIT
AndroidPIT samsung galaxy z flip purple
The new Galaxy Z Flip both open and closed. / © AndroidPIT

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip display

As with all folding smartphones, the wow-factor only appears when you open the object of desire. When the Galaxy Z Flip is unfolded, you can see the 6.7-inch FHD+ Dynamic AMOLED display. But until now, the foldable displays could only convince optically, because as soon as you glide your fingers over the display, you could feel the soft and usually not so slippery plastic protection foil. Samsung has actually managed to use a very thin and flexible display glass in the Galaxy Z Flip. Samsung was able to win a technological partner from Germany, in the form of Schott from Mainz.

Since I've had both the Galaxy Fold and the Motorola Razr in my hands, I have to admit that this flexible display glass on the Galaxy Z Flip feels good. I get the feeling again that my fingers slide over the glass and not over soft fragile plastic.

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The display is covered with flexible glass. / © AndroidPIT

Samsung has also done some fine work on the hinge, because in comparison to the Galaxy Fold, the hinge of the Z Flips has a "Freestop" hinge. This means that the Galaxy Z Flip remains open when unfolded. Practical added value: the Galaxy Z Flip always comes with a table tripod! And as a cherry on top of the cream, the camera software recognizes when you use the Z Flip in table mode. Then the upper part of the flexible display becomes the viewfinder, while the lower part becomes the control panel.

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When opened, the Galaxy Z Flip grows to 6.7 inches / © AndroidPIT

If you're still worried about the durability of the hinge and the flexible display including flexible display glass, it's worth noting that Samsung opened and closed the flip a full 200,000 times in the stress test and the Z Flip survived. The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip has a minimum use-by date of 5 years with 100 folds per day (thanks to our Golem.de colleagues for crunching the numbers).

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip software

The software for the Galaxy Z Flip is coming in the form of Android 10 with Samsung's One UI 2.1. Of course, the Galaxy Z Flip comes with a few software tricks that no other Samsung smartphone has. First of all, there is the table mode in the camera app, which I described earlier. Secondly, there's the multitasking capability of the Galaxy Z Flip, which Samsung emphasized during the presentation and during our hands-on. Due to the display's aspect ratio of 21.9:9, you can only use two applications in parallel with the Z Flip and not three as with the Galaxy Fold.

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As soon as the display is slightly tilted, the camera app switches to table mode. / © AndroidPIT

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip performance

So now we come to the inner values of the Galaxy Z Flip. And here I have to tip my hat to Samsung. In comparison to the almost equally expensive Motorola Razr, Samsung brings out the heavy guns. A Snapdragon 855+ with 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB of internal storage is a statement to the Motorola Razr, which is inferior in every respect with the hardware used. Even in terms of eSIM or normal SIM, the Galaxy Z Flip is superior to the Motorola Razr, because the South Korean engineers give their folding smartphone both. But whether the extra performance at the same price will really make all the difference in everyday life, we will find out for you later when we have put both the Galaxy Z Flip and the Motorola Razr through their paces in terms of a full review.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip camera

Yes, even a folding smartphone like the Galaxy Z Flip offers cameras, even if they are initially pushed into the background by the display and form factor. Samsung gives its second foldable smartphone a dual camera consisting of the following:

  • A 12-megapixel wide-angle sensor (f/1.8 aperture + 1/2.55'')
  • A 12-megapixel ultra-wide-angle sensor (f/2.2 f-stop + 1/3.0") with 8x digital zoom

In addition, the Infinity-O-Flex display also features a 10-megapixel wide-angle self-view camera with f/2.4 aperture. Basically, these camera specifications will no longer be considered 'flagship' in 2020, but for the target group who see their smartphone as a fashion piece, I think the camera setup of the Galaxy Z Flip is more than sufficient.

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The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip camera next to the small display. / © AndroidPIT

What's interesting about the Galaxy Z Flip is that you can also use the 1.04-inch front display as a viewfinder. Two short pushes on the combined fingerprint sensor and power button, and you can use the 12-megapixel main camera as a selfie camera. Whether either the photos and videos shot in this way or conventionally are of good quality, we will have to find out when we do our final review.

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The small viewfinder on the outside of the device only has limited use. / © AndroidPIT

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip battery

In terms of energy storage, two battery cells are hidden in the Galaxy Z Flip's divided case, which are of different sizes but are equal partners both during use and during the charging process. This measure is intended to ensure that both cells are worn down evenly and ideally, both will die at the same time. Overall, the Galaxy Z Flip is very well equipped with a 3,300 mAh battery. The Motorola Razr can only come up with a total battery capacity of 2,510 mAh. Naturally, we will have to wait to find out if the more powerful components of the Galaxy Z Flips don't consume more in the end and end up with a similar runtime as the Motorola Razr in our final test.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip technical specifications

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip: technical specs

  Samsung Galaxy Z Flip
Display

6.7 inch Infinity-O Flex
Dynamic 21.9:9 AMOLED display with 1,080 x 2,636 pixels (FHD+)
424 ppi

Display (front): 1.05 inch Super AMOLED touch screen with 112 x 300 pixels

Dimensions 167.3 x 73.6 x 7.2 mm (opened)
87.4 x 73.6 x 17.3 mm (closed)
Weight

183 grams

OS Android 10, One UI 2.0, Knox 3.5
Processor Snapdragon 855+ Octa-Core (2.9 GHz + 2.4 GHz + 1.7 GHz)
RAM / Storage

Storage 256 GB / 8 GB RAM

Battery 3,300 mAh
Wireless Power Share
Fast charging up to 15W
Camera

Rear camera: 12-megapixel wide-angle sensor (f/1.8 aperture + 1/2.55'')
12-megapixel ultra-wide-angle sensor (f/2.2 aperture + 1/3.0") 8 x digital zoom
Front camera: 10-megapixel wide-angle sensor (f/2.4 aperture + 1/3.24")

Features Wi-Fi Direct, Wi-Fi / USB / Bluetooth Tethering, MirrorLink, NFC, Android Beam, Smart Switch, Smart View, ANT+, Bluetooth 5.0
Price $1,380

Early Verdict

Samsung has a really good alternative to the Motorola Razr in its range with the Galaxy Z Flip. On paper, the Galaxy Z Flip can already offer much more than Motorola's icon. But this is exactly where the difference lies: if you want to get more for your money and you want a foldable smartphone, then Galaxy Z Flip is the right choice. But if you want to rave about memories and emotionally indulge in nostalgia, then the Galaxy Z Flip is certainly not for you and you should go for the Motorola Razr, right?

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